Martian Pictures

Analyzing the Cinema of the Red Planet


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About the Book

Mars has long served as a blank canvas for illustrating society’s aspirations and anxieties—a science fiction setting for exploring our “future history.” Covering a wide array of films from Soviet propaganda to Hollywood blockbusters, the authors examine a range of themes and concepts in motion pictures about Mars—attitudes about women, fear of government, environmental issues—and how these depictions changed over time. A complete filmography provides a concise summary of each film discussed.

About the Author(s)

O’Brien Stanley is a professor of film studies in the Department of Communication at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, specializing in television and film genre studies, science fiction film, and Super-8 film production and preservation.
Nicki L. Michalski is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Lamar. Her areas of study include popular culture, spiritual communication and rhetoric.
Lane “Doc” Roth recently retired from Lamar University, where he was an associate professor. His primary interests are the depth psychology of Carl Jung, film theory and classic American films.
Steven J. Zani is a professor of comparative literature and academic dean at the American University of Ras al Khaimah, in the Arab Emirates. His interests include popular culture, biblical hermeneutics, romanticism and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Bibliographic Details

O’Brien Stanley, Nicki L. Michalski, Lane “Doc” Roth and Steven J. Zani
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9893-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3170-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
“In the beginning…” 1
Preface 3
Introduction: Mars as a Blank Canvas 9
Part 1: Exploring Mars
One. Conformity, Survival and Hope: Genre Parallels Between Combat Films and Movies on Missions to Mars 11
Two. Deviant Discoverers Lead the Way to Mars: Critical Thinkers, Rational Recorders and ­Non-Conformists 31
Three. Space: The Final Frontier and the Agencies That Get Us There 40
Part 2: Invaders from Mars
Four. Alienated: Martians as the Other 52
Five. Zombies of the Stratosphere 71
Six. “I Think They Want Us to Come and Find Them”: Prometheus, Film and the Greek Myth of Etiology 92
Part 3: Mars and Society
Seven. Human Women, Female Martians and the Evolution of Interplanetary Gender Role 106
Eight. Is There a Tea Party on Mars? Business and Politics as Usual on the Red Planet 119
Nine. Planet B: Climate Change, the Exploitation of Earth and Mars’ Portrayal as Refuge and Resource 142
Ten. Using Our Religion: Heaven, Hell and the Projection of Human Vanity on the Martian Landscape 153
Eleven. Not Quite Total Recall: An Analysis of the Three Versions of the Story 163
Twelve. The Funny Side of Mars: Comedic Science Fiction 171
Thirteen. Survivalism and “Prepping” for Life on Mars 194
Filmography 205
References 221
Index 231

Book Reviews & Awards

“There is much to be learned here.”—SFRA Review